Rebustours: Hidden Edinburgh

You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a generic literary tour, because of the way it had been marketed in the Fringe programme. Instead, it turned out to be a two-hour tour of crime writer Ian Rankin’s Edinburgh, following in the footsteps of the eponymous character from the bestselling Rebus novels, presented by the jovial and amiable Colin Brown.

No matter what your background is, you will definitely learn something from this tour

Colin, with his encyclopaedic knowledge of both Rankin’s works and Edinburgh’s literary history in general, does an excellent job catering for both die-hard Rebus fans, and those like myself who haven’t had much exposure to the books, with a more general interest in Edinburgh’s authors. The tour is simultaneously fun and intellectual, but also accessible to the wide-ranging audience. Those with a non-advanced knowledge of English may struggle a little with the fast-paced idiomatic language, but Colin did do a good job grading his speech to the non-native speakers in the group, although they still seemed a little out of the loop. Rebustours differ in that they take you off the beaten track, a promise many tours make but fail to deliver. I personally have been based in Edinburgh for a number of years, and yet found myself walking down streets I didn’t even know existed, being exposed to history I was unaware of. No matter what your background is, you will definitely learn something from this tour.Rankin fans will definitely feel the thrill that occurs when you visit a place you have read about and imagined in detail; non-readers (like myself, as I kept being cheekily reminded of by Colin, to the amusement of the rest of the group) will almost certainly not be able to help themselves from picking up one of the novels from a local bookstore as soon as the tour ends, their palate for crime novels whetted.

Rebustours is a little out of the way, presenting unvisited areas in an imaginative and amusing way to a diverse audience in terms of age and backgrounds. Colin, who is a truly wonderful storyteller, really grades his tours so that they cater to the individuals in the group, creating a personal and amicable touch that is so often neglected on walking tours. Appropriate for all literary and crime fiction fans, not just devotees of Ian Rankin, Rebustours was a very pleasant, unexpected surprise and a lovely way of spending a couple of hours around the city. 

Reviews by Fiona Russell

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The Blurb

Explore the dark, hidden side of best-selling author Ian Rankin's Edinburgh. Discover the real locations that are examined in the books and feel the history and mystery of this unique European capital city. It is not necessary to have read any of the Rebus novels as the tour includes many fascinating accounts of Edinburgh's intriguing and mysterious history. Be my guest. It's no fun without you in the middle. Readings included.